Swing for SNAG raffle grand prize winner announced

U.S. Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient wins dream vacation

Left to right: Wes Bolyard, Jason Wilson, grand prize winner Michael Leibold and Jimmy Kimble at Red Sky Ranch Golf Club in the Vail Valley.

Michael Leibold, a United States Army Veteran, Purple Heart Recipient, current program training coordinator in Kabul, Afghanistan and avid golfer, was awarded the grand prize in the Swing For SNAG raffle in support of The First Tee of Phoenix and Mesa Public Schools (MPS).

Leibold and three friends, Wes Bolyard, Jason Wilson, and Jimmy Kimble, spent the Fourth of July weekend in beautiful Vail, Colorado. The grand prize included an $8,500 vacation to Vail with a four-day, three-night stay at the luxurious One Willow Bridge Road condominium development, airfare, shuttle service, a catered dinner in residence, four tickets to the symphony and two rounds of golf for four all in breath-taking Vail Valley. Leibold and friends also watched the annual Vail Fourth of July parade, a hometown tradition, and attended the annual BRAVO! July 4th Patriotic Concert featuring the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater, Ford Park. The concert honors not only our country but, especially our dedicated servicemen with the playing of the official theme song of each branch of the armed services. It was a fitting event for Leibold, an American hero, to attend.

“Thank you again to each of you for making this a very special celebration,” said Leibold. “I hope the First Tee of Phoenix will be able to capitalize from our word of mouth and your gracious hospitality in the future.”

Other prizes awarded in the Swing for SNAG raffle included a Las Vegas golf getaway, a PING driver, and Summer Passes to Eagle Mountain and Sedona Golf Resort.

SNAG is an acronym for Starting New At Golf and is part of The First Tee National Schools Program. SNAG is modified, developmentally appropriate golf equipment consisting of oversized plastic clubs, tennis-style balls, and a variety of targets. Each school set contains enough equipment to teach large groups of 24 to 36 students, typical size of physical education classes in the USA. SNAG equipment is only available to schools completing training and which participate in The First Tee National Schools Program. 

The MPS Elementary Physical Education Program is recognized for its high standard of curriculum excellence. With the national concern for childhood inactivity and obesity, high quality physical education programs are as essential as academic programs. The Dynamic Physical Education Program for elementary students in Mesa Public Schools is child-centered, and focuses on providing every youngster with a piece of equipment so that they may progress at a rate that is individualized. Youngsters learn the joy and satisfaction of being physically active regardless of their personal strengths or limitations.

The First Tee of Phoenix offers its golf and life skills programming at Longbow Golf Club, the only program of its kind in the East Valley. This program is available to 35,000 students as part of The First Tee National Schools Program in cooperation with the Mesa Public Schools system’s athletic and physical education department.

“Congratulations to Mr. Leibold, a true American hero. We are thrilled with the results from this event and know the funds raised will be a direct benefit to the 35,000 elementary school children in the Mesa Public Schools,” said Hugh Smith, executive director of First Tee of Phoenix. “We owe a special thank you to Bob McNichols, owner of Longbow Golf Club and developer of One Willow Bridge Road in Vail, for his continued support of the First Tee of Phoenix and his generosity in donating so much to make this raffle a success. We would also like to thank all of the locations that promoted our raffle and provided us with their support. They include Augusta Ranch Golf Club, Eagle Mountain Golf Club, Longbow Golf Club, Mesa Country Club, Painted Mountain Golf Resort, Palm Valley Golf Club, PGA Superstore (Chandler), Red Mountain Country Club and Van’s Golf Stores (five locations throughout the Valley).”

The First Tee of Phoenix is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by The Thunderbirds almost a decade ago as the Valley’s local chapter of the national First Tee organization. The First Tee of Phoenix currently impacts over 70,000 youths each year at five facilities and 140 schools as part of The National School Program outreach initiative. For more information on The First Tee of Phoenix call 602.305.7655 or visit www.TheFirstTeePhoenix.org.

One Willow Bridge Road is one of the first new developments as part of the Town of Vail’s “Billion Dollar Renewal”. It consists of 22 units featuring two, three, and four-bedroom floor plans. The private residence club is the first of its kind in Vail Village and offers opportunities for whole or fractional ownership to an elite group of consumers. For more information, visit www.onewillowbridgeroad.com.